Recently, I’ve noticed more and more often how many broken souls there are among us. On the surface, everything seems fine, life goes on, and people keep an optimistic smile on their face. Willpower or some other unexplained force drives these people through life. But somewhere in the inner world, there is emptiness, pain, and misery. The misery of others is sometimes so painful to watch. I would very much like all of us to live a life full of joy and satisfaction. So how is it then that this joy and this skill of enjoying life goes missing somewhere along the way? Life is sometimes tough with people, putting us in extreme situations. But there are people who, despite the twists of fate and the storms of life, know how to go on with their lives in a happy way. They know how to do something differently. It seems to me that this is a skill of being connected with yourself, continuing to love yourself and, despite the painful blows, still trusting life. This strength of soul can be achieved by being in a good relationship with yourself.
Just as all roads lead to Rome, most problems in the spiritual world lead back to childhood. Thus far, I have not seen any people coming into therapy who do not, sooner or later, address their childhood in addressing their problems. It usually happens sooner rather than later. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. We are born into this world as perfect, precious, loving babies, as a “clean slate”. At first, we don’t know how to do anything in this life. To survive, a baby first needs to learn to eat. Apart from that, it also needs to learn such self-evident things as falling asleep, pooping, walking, and talking. This is just the beginning. In fact, the baby must start learning absolutely everything from the very beginning. How does a baby do that?
They do this by observing their surroundings and then reflecting back what they have seen. Even as adults, when in an unknown situation, we often behave like others. We learn by watching. When a baby sees a glow and love in their parents’ eyes, they learn to feel loved. If the baby’s needs are met, they learn that they’re valuable. This is how the lifelong learning process for life begins. We also learn about how relationships work from parents or people close to us. That is why each of us has many similarities with our parents, because they are our first and most important teachers. Friends, kindergarten, schoolteachers, and others also play an important role.
A lot of important things can go wrong during this learning process. If a child is deprived of parents’ love and care, it leaves a deep impression on them. If the girl does not have a father or has no secure relationship with her father or any male figure, she is likely to have problems in relationships with men in her adulthood. When one of the parents leaves home and the parents’ relationship ends, inevitably, this tiny person feels abandonment and deep pain. If a child has experienced violence, either physical or emotional, that also leaves a deep mark. At some point, the faith in yourself disappears and the belief in being precious and worthy of love, as well as the relationship with yourself, begins to crumble. In childhood, many things happen to us. Even if family life is generally happy and harmonious, the little child’s soul can be hurt by seemingly trivial events.
This is how this child grows up and becomes an adult. But those wounds live on in them. They have not gone anywhere. The patterns of behaviour they learned to cope with, the pain they experienced, will shape their lives. Here comes the thing that plays an important role in the development of soul wounds – emotions. The reason why the wounds of the soul from childhood remain to haunt us for the rest of our lives, if they are not healed, is the inability to deal with the situation and the emotions that it brings. The child isn’t yet capable of developing that skill, and here adult help is needed. If that help does not come, all the painful emotions will be hidden away somewhere in the unconscious so they cannot cause immediate harm. For a child, some pain might just be unbearable.
What are our emotions for? To be experienced! Emotions should be felt and experienced. But there are all kinds of emotions. Pleasant emotions help us enjoy life and are easy to experience. They are intoxicating and liberating. Hard and negative emotions are painful. We don’t like them. It’s better not to have them. Yet these emotions are also intended to be experienced. The emotional energy should be fully recognised and then let go. If you let the unconscious mind act and decide that something is too painful to experience, the unconscious mind will hide it. Although not experienced, a hidden emotion is still an emotion; it is just out of sight. This is how emotions are blocked and the soul is injured.
This is more likely to happen to children if they don’t have an adult to discuss painful events with and to learn to cope with their emotions. A parent can only teach a child to cope with emotions if he or she knows how to cope him- or herself. A typical practice is to tell a child “Don’t cry”, “Don’t be afraid” or “It’s okay, it’s nothing”. By doing so, we explicitly forbid the child to feel emotions, even though he or she may have good reason to feel them. This is how a child left alone with painful emotions learns to ignore his or her emotions as an adult. That’s how broken souls are eventually born. So one way or another, the roots of the problems still go back to childhood. Even people with happy childhoods have minor pains and traumas that need healing.
I encourage you to deal with the wounds to your soul. Even more so, I encourage you to feel emotions. Even anger, sadness, indignation and irritability are acceptable emotions. They must be expressed and experienced. Find a safe and constructive way to express these emotions, but don’t lie to yourself that it’s okay to be hurt. If someone behaves disrespectfully with you and it offends you, you should dare to feel and express that feeling. You don’t have to pretend it was nothing. If someone persistently invades your personal space, disrespects you or yells at you, there is no reason to justify or downplay this in any way. Be honest with yourself, see how you feel and try to understand what that feeling tells you about you. Then give yourself what you need.
Maybe you need to start standing up for yourself and expressing your wishes. Maybe you need to ask for help. But perhaps you just need a good cry. Whatever it is, don’t deny it to yourself. Don’t lock your pain away or hide, because that’s how you deepen your soul wounds. Here and now, you can decide to listen to your body and emotions and deal with them. As for the wounds of the soul that you have suffered in the past, especially in childhood, you should seek help from therapy or from someone close to you who really knows how to listen to you. If you are broken inside and no longer enjoy life or constantly live with unpleasant feelings, it is time to focus your eyes on your childhood and begin to heal it. It may be a difficult journey at times, but it is surely one of the most gratifying journeys. It is never too late to have a happy childhood through self-healing.